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My mother’s nature walks as a child


A visit to Penn Station as a young boy
Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown Architect
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[RV] You talk about your mother’s wonderful walks, or driving around and observing your mother’s absorption, as it were. And I remember taking wonderful walks with her through… through Geneva, where she just… it was just fun and also you learned a lot. I also remember this one example again, parallel, where… we were… I was in as a kid, maybe I was only seven or so and we were… I was in New York with my father driving down Seventh Avenue in a taxi, and… is it Seventh Avenue you go south, is that right? And it must have been that we drove to New York, because as the taxi was accidentally passing Penn Station, my father told the taxi driver, would you please pull aside here and let us off, we will be back in a moment. And my father took me through the… this is the old Penn Station, took me through the gallery that went to the Penn Station and there I saw this great baths of Caracalla. Do you remember Penn Station in those days, were you…?  Did you know it?

In the ‘50s.

[RV] Well, it was just, you know, one of the great spaces of the… in the United States, and that… I was just thrilled. I mean, I just was amazed and I never forgot it. And that is sort of typical again. My father would point out things, things in that way that were architectural and so that, I think, had a big influence on me and was… made my life rich.

Internationally renowned architects Robert Venturi (1925-2018) and Denise Scott Brown (b.1931) have helped transform contemporary design through their innovative architecture and planning. Winners of numerous prestigious awards, their designs have championed multiculturalism, social activism, symbolism, pop culture, history and evolving technologies.

Listeners: Thomas Hughes

Thomas Hughes is Mellon Professor Emeritus of the History of Science at the University of Pennsylvania and Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His most recent books include Human Built World, Rescuing Prometheus and American Genesis. He is a member of the American Philosophical Society, US National Academy of Engineering, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Duration: 1 minute, 38 seconds

Date story recorded: 22nd to 23rd September 2006

Date story went live: 27 May 2010